8/27/2007

Sick Yet?

Returned to Sickamore Village recently. So many questions. Additional background and links to site plan, here.
Huh?
For starters - why more houses? Buffalo is a shrinking city. Some of the most astute observers of Buffalo's malaise and housing crisis have drawn a positive correlation between new builds on the City's east side and people leaving Hamlin Park. This amounts to a very expensive game of musical chairs. There are/were a number of very solid houses on this block that have been demolished recently, including this one at the corner of Mortimer and Sycamore that I featured last summer in this post - Greening of Buffalo - less than a year ago, in September.
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We are simply imitiating failure at this location. Urban is urban and suburban belongs, well somewhere else. From a design and planning perspective this project is not urban. It's part of the subtle shift to suburbia and away from what makes a city work.
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There's a foreclosure problem with many of the houses surrounding this new development, too. Some of the recently built vinyl victorians have been re-selling at less than half their original 90K selling points. Developers skate and the promise of neighborhood stability remains a mirage.

And the site is wide open. No barricades or construction fencing. Why?

So what's the cost? No one knows the true cost, yet word is that each one of these "vinyl victorians" is priced around $235, 000. With a developer subsidy of 100K they'll sell for $135, 000. Plus, factor in the cost of site remeditation - the construcition and demolition of the three houses - and the infrastructure that includes new sewers, new street and new sidewalks.

Any time a municipality forces development on remediated land, look out. Run. Love Canal, Hickory Woods? Should have left it looking like it did last year, right here. Have we learned our lesson? Probably not.

So it goes...

update - 8/28/07 11am Conversations this morning indicate that the 25 homes scheduled for this site weigh in at $265,000 with a subsidy of $75K and homeowner incentive of $25K. The actual cost, when you internalize the 1.3 million remediation that took place, late 2006 brings the cost of each 1800 sft piece of suburbia with an attached 2 and half car garage much closer to East Amherst than what would work for the City's East side. ROI? None. Taxpayers will be subsidizing this forever.
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9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't think it should be a mystery why there are new houses being built. People don't want to pay to live in old buildings. Why take on all the problems associated with an 80 year old building, when you can avoid them for a little bit more scratch up front.

Anonymous said...

Who is responsible for naming that development "Sickamore Village".Why not "Sycamore Village"?What does Buffalo's "Brown Town"mean?
Naming a housing development is important.It instills pride into the new homeowner.

Anonymous said...

Could be Brown slept thru his English class and Steve Casey didnt have the intestinal fortitude to to tell him his spelling was wrong!!!

Anonymous said...

Duh- creative photoshopping on the sign. Come on people

Anonymous said...

Who are the developers ?

This is dumb growth if there's ever been an example.

denny said...

Anon9:31 is way off. These are being built because, like all other subsidized projects, the subsidy is going directly into the pockets of the builders - they slap-up shoddy cr*p and keep the extra cash. My brother is building a house in the outer 'burbs right now, and he's getting a place twice the size & with much higher quality for the same $265K as these dumps.

If "people" truly wanted these houses where they are, they would build them ON THEIR OWN. Give them a few years of tax-free status to encourage them, but not cash pay-offs to the City Hall connected contractors.

Ps: "People" certainly DO want to pay to "live in old buildings" ; nice 100+ yr old houses are snapped-up on Norwood and Ashland & any of the Elmwood-to-Delaware cross streets. You mean that YOU don't.

Anonymous said...

Another example of liberal utopia.Liberals have been running this area so long;most people don't even realize things could be differant.As long as you keep electing the same;get out your wallet.

Josh said...

Personally, I think the city needs to use spellcheck. I hope the city renames the development Sycamore Village - becuase I don't know what Sickamore is.

Anonymous said...

i think that you guys have got to be in bad shape if you really think that they named this project Sickamore and are referring to it as "Brown Town". there's a sucker born every minute i guess, but maybe they shouldn't be allowed on blogs. jeesh